At the precise moment that the rest of the technosphere was well into into Steve Jobs' press conference on Apple’s iPhone 4 antenna issues (10:30 a.m. Friday) , my door bell rang, and a disembodied hand attached to a FedEx driver handed me a long-awaited package: My new Motorola Droid X Android phone had finally arrived. The phone was announced Friday, and I'm one of the fortunate few who actually got delivery on it.
For those of you who couldn’t give a rip about the arrival of a new phone, you are excused; please resume your nature hike. But if you're even a moderate tech-pleasure seeker, the arrival of the Droid is worthy of celebration and I'm celebrating.
These are first impressions, written after the phone has been in my hand for less than an hour, but the overall sense of it is that it represents something different in the emerging world of mobile technology.
It’s a cliché to say "size matters," but it does. If you're choosing a notebook, netbook, iPad, or similar tablet or smartphone, the dimensions of your screen are of utmost importance. You'll have to live with your choice throughout the life of your device. For me, someone who thinks of these devices as important to my life as a football is to Matt Hasselbeck, the Droid X screen size works.
It's bigger by roughly 20 percent from an iPhone, and therefore it's larger in your hand, in your pocket — and the size is worth it, people. I’m a reader, not a gamer, and while I've become accustomed to reading news sites and books more often on my portable devices than on a computer or on paper, the larger Droid X comes as a pleasurable experience, because it means I don't have to push quite as much to read as I do with other phones.
The screen itself is as bright and beautiful as advertised, but it only provides people who focus on bragging rights something more to brag about. I tend to keep my screen a shade less bright because screens tweaked to their ultimate brightness simply eat up battery life no matter whose device you have.
I was surprised at the light weight of the device. I also have an iPhone 3GS and I weighed it on my Weight Watchers scale (just leave that one alone, please); the Apple phone weighed in at 4.8 oz., the Droid X at 5.3. That's about the weight difference of a piece of lunch meat (and do not ask me why I know that).
The speed of the phone is remarkably good, compared to its predecessor, the original Droid, and feels speedier to operate than my iPhone. When you're waiting on an answer to your burning Google question — i.e., who is Amanda Logue (number 4 on Google’s hottest topics Friday) — the fast processor vs. another phone's slow processor is a blessing. My answer appeared in less than three seconds.
I shot a few pictures with the phone, and to my eye, the quality is excellent. I haven't shot any video so far, but the phone’s picture quality specification should be equal to many broadcasts you watch on a high definition TV set (720p: the broadcast standard of ABC and Fox network TV, for example).
So … much more to come, but it was worth breaking away from Steve Jobs' press conference to welcome this new little critter home.
PS: If you need to remove the small memory card, you have to take off the back plate and remove the battery. And don't pull out the plastic sheet that lies under the battery. It seems at first just another new phone plastic covering; it's not. Take my word for it.
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